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TheStreet Open House

5 Ugliest Blackout Situations in the NFL

It's a team that's giving Buffalo only eight more years for its investment. Eight.

That's $28.3 million a year for a team that's paying only $800,000 a year in rent on its stadium. Oh, and the new deal still allows the team to play one home game a year in Toronto, which means the issue of a possible move there still isn't settled. Buffalo bought itself some time, but it's still on the wrong end of this one-way love affair and remains an emotional and financial hostage of a team that always seems to have one foot out the door.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Number of blackouts: Six

That's six out of eight home games blacked out this season and 25 out of the past 29 overall, for everyone counting at home.

The only games the team sold out this year was a home loss to the New Orleans Saints, their division rivals, and a random matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles -- one of the few teams in the league worse than the Buccaneers this year. The fan base just suffered through its second straight losing season after the Buccaneers went 10-6 in 2010, but the problems run much deeper than the on-field product.

Management knew this, and deflected blame back to the league by accepting the new blackout threshold and tweaking ticket prices. Granted, attendance for a majority of the team's blacked-out home games in the two seasons before this fell below that 85% mark, but this year's turnout makes that seem fairly obvious.

It's tough to say what Tampa's next move should be. Management hasn't bought up tickets for a third of the price and given them to charity -- a loophole exploited by several other NFL squads -- but that's a costly alternative. The answer may lie in its $69.72 average ticket price, which Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index says is nearly $10 below the league average, but is still the costliest NFL ticket in Florida. By comparison, Seattle Seahawks fans in a far more economically stable city paid $2 less to see their team play each Sunday this year. The Seahawks are in the playoffs, but the Buccaneers' season is over -- not that many folks in Tampa notice.

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